1+ months

Scientific Programmer/Software Engineer

La Serena, Coquimbo
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time
  • Shift
    1st Shift
  Position Summary
Under the general supervision of the Computer Application Group Manager, this position develops and maintains computer software applications and related documentation, and provides support for the control and operation of telescopes and astronomical instruments at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). Ideal candidate should be a motivated, self-starter who can manage multiple projects and priorities. Incumbent is expected to have sound knowledge of software programming. Job based in La Serena, Chile.

Essential Job Functions
1. Coordinate the development and maintenance of code to support correct telescope and instruments operations at CTIO.
2. Develop and operate software tools to improve CTIO operational efficiency.
3. Respond to questions and perform troubleshooting to provide end-user support for operational software.
4. Produce and maintain documentation related to the development and operations of observatory software.
5. Conduct and maintain proper testing of software developed for/by the observatory.
6. Conduct requirements and code reviews and coordinate the test and release of code to assure that released code conforms to the observatory standards.
7. Perform revision control of code developed at CTIO to assure the latest approved code is utilized in operations.
8. Work effectively with coworkers and others by sharing ideas in a constructive, positive manner; listening to and objectively considering ideas and suggestions from others; keeping commitments; keeping others informed of work progress and issues; addressing problems and issues constructively to find mutually acceptable and practical solutions; and respecting the diversity of the CTIO workforce in actions, words, and deeds.
9. Maintain commitment to a high standard of safety, comply with all safety laws and CTIO safety policies/rules, and report actual and potential safety violations to appropriate supervisory or management personnel.

Other Job Functions
1. Work with end users to improve operational applications.
2. Perform analysis to support operations.
3. Perform other duties consistent with the scope of the position, as specified by the Computer Application Group Manager.
4. Participate in weekly CTIO video conferences with the Telescope Operations Group.
5. When required, travel internationally to face-to-face meetings.


1. Bachelor degree in Computer Science or equivalent work experience.
2. Five years' experience in development of software for engineering or scientific applications.
3. Good knowledge of modern software engineering practices, especially in the areas of software re-use and testability.
4. High level of competency in C and in object oriented programming.
5. Experience developing solutions with data manipulation software including use of at least one of Python or IDL.
6. Good knowledge of database design.
7. Experience developing web enabled database applications
8. Experience in Unix and Unix shell scripting.
9. Experience spanning the full software life cycle.
10. Technical writing experience.

Skills Required
1. Ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
2. Good applied mathematical and statistical skills.
3. Problem solving—the individual identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner and gathers and analyzes information skillfully.
4. Interpersonal Skills—the individual maintains confidentiality, remains open to others’ ideas and exhibits willingness to try new things.
5. Oral communication—the individual speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations, demonstrates group presentation skills and conducts meetings.
6. Written Communication—the individual edits work for spelling and grammar, presents numerical data effectively and is able to read and interpret written information.
7. Planning/organizing—the individual prioritizes and plans work activities, uses time efficiently and develops realistic action plans. Should be able to execute multiple tasks/projects simultaneously.
8. Quality control—the individual demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness and monitors own work to ensure quality.
9. Adaptability—the individual adapts to changes in the work environment, manages competing demands and is able to deal with frequent change, delays or unexpected events.
10. Dependability—the individual is consistently at work and on time, follows instructions, responds to management direction and solicits feedback to improve performance.
11. Safety and security—the individual actively promotes and personally observes safety and security procedures, and uses equipment and materials properly.

Other Requirements
1. Willingness to stay current with changing technology.
2. Willingness to travel internationally and possess (or have the ability to obtain) the necessary passports/visas/travel documentation.
3. Willingness and ability to occasionally work nights and weekends.
4. Willingness to take ocasional/regular trips to the mountain.

Desirable Qualifications
1. Experience in any of the following: C, C++, Python, NI LabVIEW, IDL, Java, JavaScript, HTML, SQL, PHP, or XML.
2. Knowledge of low-level programming (microprocessors, FPGA) is a plus.
3. Linux experience.
4. Experience at an astronomical observatory.
5. Skilled in handling astronomical data (FITS files).
6. Good knowledge of English language is a plus.

Special Requirements
Employment is contingent upon successfully passing an employee reference check, criminal background check and a five year motor vehicle history check. This is an exempt position under FSLA regulations


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Scientific Programmer/Software Engineer

La Serena, Coquimbo

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